An earthy romp through the lingua franca of Jews, which has
roots reaching back to the Hebrew Bible and which continues to thrive in
21st-century America. Canadian professor, translator and performer Wex has an
academic's breadth of knowledge, and while he doesn't ignore your bubbe's
tsimmes, he gives equal time to the semantic nuances of putz,
schmuck, shlong and shvants. Wex organizes his material around
broad, idiosyncratic categories, but like the authors of the Talmud (the
source for a large number of Yiddish idioms), he strays irrepressibly beyond the
confines of any given topic. His lively wit roams freely, and Rabbi Akiva and
Sholem Aleichem collide happily with Chaucer, Elvis and Robert Petrie. . . .
this treasure trove of linguistics, sociology, history and folklore offers a
fascinating look at how, through the centuries, a unique and enduring language
has reflected an equally unique and enduring culture.